Egyptian Cotton Bedsheets: What Are They, and Why Are They the Best?
Superior strength. Unrivaled softness. Vibrant colors. Lifelong durability.
Many people regard Egyptian cotton as the best in the world.
...and it's easy to see why.
From Cairo to Europe - The History of Egyptian Cotton
For hundreds of years, cotton has been one of the cornerstones of Egypt's culture as well as its economy.
Egyptian cotton as we know it today was first cultivated by a French-born man named Louis Jumel. He was living in Cairo and had a background in the French cotton trade.
In 1820, Mr. Jumel discovered some neglected cotton plants growing in a local garden.
After some experimentation, he developed a new type of cotton known as "Mako." He produced Mako cotton using extra-long fibers -- the longest in the world.
The resulting cotton was very soft and super strong.
It was like nothing anyone had ever seen before.
Mr. Jumel presented his Mako cotton to the Egyptian head of state, Mehemet Ali. The cotton was so impressive that he put Mr. Jumel in charge of an entire cotton plantation.
Shortly afterward, his workers planted Mako crops all along the banks of the River Nile.
This new "Egyptian" cotton became famous for its softness, strength, and durability. Before long, it started drawing major interest from Europe. So much so, that from 1861 to 1863, Egypt more than doubled its Mako cotton exports.
Egypt's cotton industry continued to grow. Over time, it formed strong connections with Europe's textile industry. This resulted in huge profits not only for the Egyptian cotton industry - but the country as a whole.
Today, cotton remains one of Egypt's major (and most profitable) exports.
Many types of cotton are grown, but only a small percentage is Mako cotton. Egypt exports this cotton worldwide under the official "Egyptian cotton" name.
The Unique Benefits of Egyptian Cotton
Unlike most textiles, Egyptian cotton is still picked by hand.
This allows the fibers to keep their length and strength during harvesting.
Egyptian cotton is also a very pure fabric. It's excellent at absorbing and retaining color.
Sheets made from generic cotton will fade after each wash, shortening their lifespan. Egyptian cotton sheets stay vibrant and bright even after years of washing and wear.
Cotton is a natural material. It's effective at keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. Egyptian cotton bedsheets "breathe" and allow heat to escape instead of remaining trapped.
When you're hot, your body produces sweat to cool you down. This is great during exercise -- but not so great when you're lying in bed.
Luckily, cotton also absorbs sweat and moisture. It draws it away from your skin and allows it to evaporate in the open air.
This is better for your sleep patterns -- but also for your health.
Finally, Egyptian cotton bedsheets are very low maintenance. They have no special care or washing requirements. You can put them straight into your washing machine like any other bedding.
You should wash your bedsheets twice a month, and dry them in the open air or in a tumble dryer on a low setting.
In summary, Egyptian cotton bedsheets are superior in every category.
They're comfortable, cool during hot weather, and easy to look after.
How Does Egyptian Cotton Compare to Other Types of Cotton?
There are many different types of bedsheets on the market.
But Egyptian cotton remains the gold standard.
Generic cotton is typically machine-farmed and often made from short, coarse fibers. You can feel it in the quality of the material. It's generally made to sell for a cheap price.
Egyptian cotton is not made to a price -- but a quality.
As one of the few kinds of cotton made from long-staple fibers, Egyptian cotton offers excellent softness and strength. And it's obvious at first touch.
When talking about bedding, there are two words you'll hear again and again: thread count.
Although there can be exceptions, there is one simple guiding principle:
A higher thread count generally results in smoother, denser, and more durable sheets.
Whilst this is not true in every case - it's helpful advice to consider when shopping for new bedding.
Egyptian cotton sheets typically have a thread count starting around 200, with the very best going all the way up to 1000. These sheets can be exeptionally soft (helpful if you have sensitive skin) and will also last longer than other types of bedding.
Another hallmark of cheap cotton is "pilling" -- the appearance of tiny bumps and balls of lint on the fabric. With Egyptian cotton sheets, pilling is no longer an issue.
They'll stay soft and smooth over their entire lifetime.
A common comparison is between Egyptian cotton and Pima (also known as Supima) cotton. The immediate difference is geographical. Egyptian cotton is grown in Egypt, while Pima cotton is grown in the U.S.
It's true that Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton share some similarities. They're both grown in sunny, warm climates. They're both made from longer strands than generic cotton. But Egyptian cotton typically has the edge over Pima in terms of strength, softness, and overall durability.
Genuine Egyptian cotton bedsheets may cost a little more than the Pima.
But it's important to remember that you're paying for the very best.
The Perfect Material for High-Quality Bedsheets
There are four main reasons why we regard Egyptian cotton as the very best:
The first thing you'll notice about Egyptian cotton sheets is how soft they are right out of the packet. And the sheets will stay this way, even after hundreds of washes.
Egyptian cotton is resistant to stress and wear. It will keep its shape, softness, and color much longer than cheap generic cotton. In fact, one set of Egyptian cotton bedsheets can last a lifetime.
Breathable and Absorbent
Quality sheets encourage better sleep and keep you cool. They also reduce sweat and avoid the buildup of bacteria.
In this regard, Egyptian cotton has two distinct benefits:
It is a porous, "breathable" material that allows body heat to dissipate.
It "wicks" away moisture and sweat -- preventing it from pooling on your skin.
Outstanding Value for Money
Night after night, wash after wash -- Egyptian cotton sheets still feel brand-new.
This is very important when it comes to value. Once you buy a set of high-quality sheets, you won't need to replace them any time soon.
In the short-term, Egyptian cotton sheets will cost more than generic cotton.
In the long-term, they're more than worth it.
Should You Buy Egyptian Cotton Bedsheets?
Your bed is a special place. It's private. It's unique. It's part of who you are.
It's a place for you to relax, to recharge, and to start every day feeling brand new.
Recent studies have shown that you will spend more time in bed than doing anything else. The quality of your sleep has a direct impact on your health, your mindset, and even your immune system.
You can't achieve quality sleep without the right bed. And your bed is incomplete if it doesn't have the highest quality bedding.
And Egyptian cotton is the best there is.